OAKLAND CA - JULY 21: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Boston Red Sox makes a play on a bunt by Rajai Davis #11 of the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 21 2010 in Oakland California. Davis was safe at first base. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, the Oakland Athletics have opened the bidding for free agent Adrian Beltre as they have reportedly offered him a 5-year deal worth about 64 million dollars.
Beltre, who turns 32 next April, declined the 10 million dollar player option earlier this month as a part of his one-year deal he signed with Boston last offseason. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein originally built the option into Beltre's contract in hopes that he might consider staying in Boston for at least another year. However, Beltre is represented by Scott Boras, baseball's super agent, and didn't shock anyone when he decided to decline the option, in hopes of receiving a long term deal.
Last offseason, the final bidding for Beltre came down to the Athletics, who were reportedly willing to offer a three-year deal to Beltre (after missing most of the 2009 season with injury) or Boston who offered him a one-year contract, but with a higher base salary. Beltre decided to accept the Red Sox' offer in order to show teams that he is capable of returning to his old form.
Beltre had a great 2010 season hitting .321, hammering in 28 homers, and driving in 102 RBIs. This marks Beltre's second best season statistically, trailing only his monstrous 2004 season where he posted 48 home runs and a .334 average. With this Beltre coming off a good year, Boras will be looking to make as much as possible off this contract.
Now that Beltre auditioned with the Red Sox so to speak, and has proven that he is still among the elite third baseman, he may be more willing to accept this kind of offer from the A's, who have been looking for a third baseman as they are fielding offers for current third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.
The Red Sox are reportedly willing to go as high as four years 52 million for their third baseman. If the Red Sox remain reluctant to offer Beltre a 5-year deal, they could very well lose out on him to another team. In this case, they will more than likely move Kevin Youkilis to third base and look to acquire a first baseman such as Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder of the Brewers. The team could also replace Beltre with infielder Jed Lowrie.
If Beltre leaves, the Red Sox will more than likely make catcher Victor Martinez their top priority on the free agent market.